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6 takeaways from the 2020 Diamond League

The Diamond League season may have been fractured this year, but it still gave us a lot to look forward to for 2021

For a while, it looked like none of the Diamond League events would be run this year, but luckily for track fans, that wasn’t the case. First, we got a pair of exhibition events in the Impossible Games and Inspiration Games that had limited fields competing virtually around the world. A couple of months later, in-person events made their return, starting with the Monaco Diamond League. The 2020 series wrapped up last week in Doha, and while it wasn’t what we expected it to be coming into this year, it still gave us a lot to be excited for as we move forward to 2021. Here are six takeaways from the season that almost didn’t happen. 


All eyes on Cheptegei and Warholm

As the 2020 track season comes to a close and athletes set their focus on 2021 and a build toward the Tokyo Games, two men who are clear favourites for Olympic gold are Joshua Cheptegei and Karsten Warholm. Both runners set world records at Diamond League events this year, with Cheptegei running a new 5,000m best in Monaco and Warholm breaking the 300m hurdles record at the Impossible Games in Oslo. Warholm also came extremely close to the 400mH world record on multiple occasions. The dominant performances from these two men put the rest of their competitors on high alert with less than a year until Tokyo, and they are both without a doubt the men to beat in their respective events in 2021. 

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Don’t sleep on McSweyn

Australia’s Stewart McSweyn ran two national records this season, first with a 7:28.02 in the 3,000m in Rome and then a 3:30.51 in the 1,500m just a week later in Doha. Coming into 2020, McSweyn had a 1,500m PB of 3:31.81 from 2019. He beat that time at the Stockholm Diamond League, where he ran a 3:31.48, and then a month later in Doha, where he set his Australian record. His record time would have won him a silver medal at last year’s world championships, which were also in Doha. McSweyn looks poised to post some big results next year, and fans shouldn’t be surprised if they see him fighting for a spot on the Olympic podium in Tokyo. 


Hassan is unstoppable 

As Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands has shown us many times, she is a force to be reckoned with no matter what distance she’s racing. In a unique one-hour event at the Brussels Diamond League in early September, she proved this yet again when she beat marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei and set a new world record of 18.93K in 60 minutes. Hassan has not only made herself a favourite heading into the Tokyo Olympics, but with yet another display of her versatility as a runner, she has given us reason to believe she will be a top marathoner whenever she decides to officially trade the track for the road. 

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Faith Kipyegon could repeat in Tokyo 

Faith Kipyegon, Kenya’s reigning Olympic 1,500m champion, went undefeated in 2020. She won her lone 1,500m race, two 1,000m races (which were the second- and fifth- fastest times in history) and a surprise 800m race in Doha. Her winning time of 1:57.68 was not only a massive 800m PB and the world-leading time for 2020, but it would have also won her gold in the 2019 world championships. This was Kipyegon’s first 800m in five years, and with the amazing result, she has shown the world that she has the speed and strength to repeat as Olympic champion (in the 1,500m or potentially the 800m) in 2021. 


Canadians are looking good 

Matt Hughes, Marco Arop, Sage Watson and Lindsey Butterworth all posted big results at various Diamond League events this summer, including a few podium finishes. With these performances, each of these Canadians have proven that they will be contenders come 2021, and with almost a full year left to train before the Olympics, there’s no telling how high they could climb in the ranks by next July.  

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